The Prince William County Animal Shelter is looking for owners of 15 domestic rabbits left on a vacated Manassan property this week, officials said.
All adult, large breed bunnies weigh between 8 and 12 pounds. They seem to be in relatively good health, so someone cared for rabbits until recently. But who?
This is the mystery the Prince William County Animal Shelter has been trying to unravel since the new owner of the Manassas property on the 7400 block of Centerville Road was called after the rabbits were discovered in an outdoor structure, said Anthony Cleveland, head of the Prince William County Police Department. Department of the Animal Control Bureau.
Most of the rabbits were kept separately, but some were also housed in double housing. Animal shelters transported them to the county’s new animal shelter, shelter manager Kapp Suzette said.
The newly built shelter is almost complete and, in part since its opening in November 2021, stray and unwanted animals from the county have been housed in the west wing. The new shelter is more than 27,000 square feet – about four times the size of the old shelter. In 1975 – and when completed, it can hold up to 106 cats and 56 dogs.
To accommodate so many rabbits at once is “naturally unusual,” Cleveland said.
However, the rabbits will feel comfortable in the new shelter’s “flexible room,” which is designed to accommodate cats but “can also accommodate a variety of smaller hairy species such as rabbits and guinea pigs,” Cleveland said.
Currently, all the rabbits have been classified as stray, and shelter staff posted pictures of them on their Facebook page on Thursday, March 17 to find their owner. According to county guidelines, the shelter keeps rabbits for 10 days while they wait for the owner to claim them, Cleveland said.
The 15 bunnies have been procuring the largest individual rabbits in the shelter for at least 10 years, Kapp said.
According to county statistics, 14 rabbits have been adopted from the animal shelter since January 1. In 2021, 97 rabbits were adopted from the shelter and a further three were transferred to rescue rabbits.
In their admission study, they found that the group of 15 bunnies consisted of three to four male rabbits, the rest were females. Male rabbits have not been neutered and it is not yet known whether any of the females are pregnant.
If, after 10 days, the owner does not ask for the rabbits, they will be evaluated by a veterinarian before adoption. The shelter may need to turn to rabbit rescue groups or even neighboring animal shelters to help find a loving and appropriate adoption home for the rabbits, Kapp said.
Rabbits are very social animals and require extensive care and long-term commitment because they live an average of eight to ten years. Pet bunnies need regular mental stimulation, daily exercise, and a healthy, varied diet of hay, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a small dose of rabbit pellets, Kapp said.
The shelter recommends that bunnies be cared for as “pets within the family”. They can be easily formed in a litter box with an accuracy of up to 95%. Rabbits are easily bored, so farmers are asked to “insure” their home to avoid damage. The shelter is also encouraging new owners to consider adopting bunnies in pairs or groups to encourage them, Kapp said.
Cleveland said the animal welfare agency doesn’t have all the information about what happened to these bunnies, but hopes their owner will report soon. The bunnies are not being prosecuted yet, he said.
“Right now, we don’t have much to do with who the owner is,” Cleveland said, adding, “The Animal Welfare Office always aims to reunite pets with their owners.”